At, High Court of Karnataka
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S. SUNIL DUTT YADAV
For the Petitioner: T. Mohan Kumar, Advocate. For the Respondents: Prathima Honnapura, Additional Government Advocate, Varun J. Patil, Vaishali Hegde, S.A. Dodwad, Advocates.
1. The petitioner who was the Adhyaksha of the Javagal Gram Panchayath, Arasikere Taluk, Hassan District has filed the present writ petition seeking for issuance of the writ in the nature of certiorari to quash the notice at Annexure-E dated 11.03.2019, whereby the Assistant Commissioner by notice to the members had fixed 28.03.2019 as the date for consideration of motion of no-confidence.2. It is made out from the facts that on 28.03.2019, motion of no-confidence was passed and in fact subsequently a fresh Adhyaksha has been elected. However, as the petition was filed on 22.03.2019, this Court by its order dated 26.03.2019 had observed that proceedings pursuant to the notice at Annexure-E would be subject to the result of the petition.3. It is the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the Model Code of Conduct for the Guidance of Political Parties and Candidates ('M.C.C. Guidelines' for brevity) for the Lok Sabha election had come into force on 10.03.2019 in light of which, the action of the Assistant Commissioner was in clear violation of Guideline No.1.174 VII(vi)(d) Guideline No.437/6/99/PLN-III dated 12.07.1999.4. Learned counsel appearing for respondent - State Election Commission would however point out that the M.C.C. Guidelines seek to prevent only such of the actions which may have the effect of influencing the voters to vote in favour of any political party.5. It is further submitted that M.C.C. Guidelines would not come in the way of exercise of the day-to-day statutory duties and functions, and that the question of M.C.C. Guidelines being made applicable insofar as elections to the Gram Panchayat would also not arise, as the elections to Gram Panchayat are not on party lines as is indicated by Section 7(2) of the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, 1993.6. Heard learned counsel for the parties.The contention of the petitioner is by placing reliance on Guideline No.VII(vi)(d) of M.C.C. Guidelines dated 12.07.1999 which provides as follows.-(vi) from the time the elections are announced by the Commission, Ministers and Authorities shall not -"(d) Make any ad-hoc appointments in Government, public undertakings etc.,which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power".7. Reliance has also been placed on M.C.C. Guidelines, the relevant extract of which is as under -"3. ...from the time the Elections are announced by the Commission, Ministers and other authorities shall not -(a)xxxx(b)xxxx(c)xxxx(d) make any ad-hoc appointments in Government, public undertakings etc.which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power."8. In the present case, there is no question of making any 'appointment', for the consideration of motion of no-confidence, is a method for removal of 'Adhyaksha' as contemplated and is an exercise as mandated under the statute which is required to be completed within a period of thirty days in terms of Section 49(1) of the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act 1993 read with Rule 3 of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Motion of No-Confidence against Adhyaksha and Upadhayaksha of Gram Panchayat) Rules, 1994.9. In light of the requirement that complaint that is moved by the members is to be considered within a period of thirty days, the action of Assistant Commissioner in issuing the notice to consider the said motion of no-confidence by fixing a date for such consideration is to be construed to be an act in furtherance of a statutory mandate.10. Even otherwise, taking note of the circumstances under which the M.C.C. Guidelines operate, it cannot be said that the action of Assistant Commissioner in convening the meeting for consideration of motion of no-confidence in terms of the statutory requirements of the Act can be construed to be an action which would influence the voters to vote in a particular manner for a political party, which is the mischief sought to be taken care of Guideline No.VII(vi) of M.C.C. Guidelines as noted above.11. The only other contention is that the complaint leading to initiation of
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motion of no-confidence contains incorrect facts and would also cast a stigma also cannot be accepted, as the motion of no-confidence does not make out any allegations and the reference in the complaint is to the earlier proceedings of this Court granting liberty to initiate fresh proceedings to move a motion of no-confidence and nothing more can be read into such reference.This petition is accordingly disposed off, subject to the above observations.